Saturday, July 10, 2010

Elijah, the Widow and Hospice

1 Kings 17:7-16 The brook near where Elijah was hiding ran dry, because no rain had fallen in the land. So the LORD said to Elijah:  “Move on to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have designated a widow there to provide for you.”

He left and went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the entrance of the city, a widow was gathering sticks there; he called out to her, “Please bring me a small cupful of water to drink.” She left to get it, and he called out after her, “Please bring along a bit of bread.” She answered, “As the LORD, your God, lives, I have nothing baked; there is only a handful of flour in my jar and a little oil in my jug. Just now I was collecting a couple of sticks, to go in and prepare something for myself and my son; when we have eaten it, we shall die.”

Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid. Go and do as you propose. But first make me a little cake and bring it to me. Then you can prepare something for yourself and your son. For the LORD, the God of Israel, says, ‘The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the LORD sends rain upon the earth.’ ”

She left and did as Elijah had said. She was able to eat for a year, and Elijah and her son as well; the jar of flour did not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, as the LORD had foretold through Elijah.
Two people, with nothing material to give, are led by God to one another. One has abundant listening skills, and clarity, to hear the voice of God, but no one is willing to listen to him and his message. The other has a generous heart, but is impoverished and widowed; she has a beloved son, but not enough food to sustain them, and is resigned to die in poverty.
 
They are brought together, and they are both sustained in spite of their poverty and loss.

This reading about Elijah got me thinking about the old days, growing up as a Christian Scientist. I've read Elijah stories many times, and back in those days, was given Mary Baker Eddy's interpretation of the Bible stories (there is no personal pastor in Christian Science churches, since the Bible and Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures are considered to be the pastor of the church).

Psalm 16:1b-2ab, 4, 5ab and 8, 11
R. (1b) Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.

Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge; I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
They multiply their sorrows who court other gods. Blood libations to them I will not pour out, nor will I take their names upon my lips.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
O LORD, my allotted portion and cup, you it is who hold fast my lot. I set the LORD ever before me; with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
I've pondered how to see that word, "safe" for the past few years, since in my earlier life (as a Christian Scientist), I would have interpreted "safe" as "deliverance from harm." Yet in Psalm 23, King David says, "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies." That sounds as if harm can get pretty close to us, and now, I know that it can. Yet we are assured that God is with us, right in the very next lines of the psalm.
This makes me think of our dear Hospice nurse, Amy Getter. Amy was an ICU nurse, and she has been a hospice nurse for many years. She took the most tender care of Katie and our family, and she made what was a terrifying time feel "safer." She brought an abundance of skills, and deep faith, with which to accompany us. Amy has recently written a beautiful book about what she has learned in her career. I received a signed copy from Amy in the mail, along with a card. In the card, Amy pointed out that one of the four people to whom the book was dedicated is Katie - our Katie. I was absolutely amazed, and so very thankful that Katie has touched Amy's life in this way. Amy certainly touched Katie's and our lives, and she made what I think is the hardest job in the world, easier for all us.

I am thankful that, in the good times, and in the hardest parts of our lives - even in "the valley of the shadow of death" - God sends His people to be with one another and to help one another. He blesses us, and we bless each other. Thanks be to God!

13 comments:

Maggie May said...

I cannot find words. I think the reason why is because this post humbled me.

Busy Bee Suz said...

You are right, God sends us the people we need at the most crucial times..hence Amy for you.
I will follow the link to her book.
Hugs to you Karen.
suz

Ellen said...

I do believe in Angels on earth...you had a very special nurse who touched your family in such lovely ways...what a dear gift she gave you by her book and the dedication to your daughter.

Truth Ferret said...

You deserve any gifts possible, as your gift of words is a blessing to many. Your love for Katie and your appreciation for those who cared for your family are beyond compare.

Please know how moved I am when I am allowed into your world, through your blog. Thank you.

Warmly, Ferret

Allegra Smith said...

A child will show the way. And they do, and we learn and we are blessed because so many things will otherwise be lost in the noise of the world. What a wise and gentle person she is.

Lakeland Jo said...

beautiful post. Inspirational as usual. God is always with us- sometimes it is so difficult to understand why things are happening- I am sure one day we will get the answers

Karla said...

Just now catching up on your blog. It looks like the last month has been quite eventful and emotional. Beautiful photos! The story of Elijah is truely amazing.

Elizabeth said...

I love that story. I love that photo of beautiful Katie, reaching. And when I went to the website for Amy's book, I loved her photo, too. She looks like a gentle angel.

Karen said...

Another beautiful tribute to your family and your Katie. I too have noticed how God brings the "poor in spirit" together for comfort. Thank you for your thoughtful words, today.
Hugs and love always.

Mary Potts said...

This picture of Katie, surrounded and cushioned by her beautiful soft blankets with her cat nearby, reminds me so of the picture I just posted of Erin & Keenan on my blog. I want to crawl into each photo. I just want a few more minutes...

Nurses are angels, they truly are. We had so many throughout the three years, and they saved us in so many different ways. In the end, we did not have hospice. We cared for Erin ourselves. We knew what to do, for we had watched those experts.

Dear God, just a few more minutes...

Tracey Axnick said...

This is a beautiful post, Karen. Kevin (our pastor) spoke just YESTERDAY about Jehovah Shalom... the God of PEACE.... and that the word "shalom" is not peace in the sense of "freedom from difficulties" but much more of a full, rich "guardianship and intimate relationship of the soul" (I'm really not explaining it well...) but it really goes hand in hand with your post.

And how BEAUTIFUL that Amy's book was dedicated to Katie. Jordan had some nurses who I'm still in touch with (14 years after his "season" in the NICU)... and they were truly heaven sent... it's amazing the tapestry that God weaves, isn't it?

Peace & Blessings, my friend!

rebecca said...

i love this picture of katie...
reaching out as if to softly know the touch of her cat.

when we were caring for my father at home..there was an unexpected arrival of a stray cat. we were happy to feed her...and she slipped inside past my then very young adoring son.

yes.she arrived to hide under my parents bed and immediately give birth to five kittens.

i cannot tell you the marvel and comfort these little tiny babies brought all of us.

my son
loved placing them on my father's chest and lap. my father loved this too. these beginnings, these meowing soft clouds. these unexpected arrivals we are so blessed to share.

i love that this book will hold katie's name and touch forever.

xoxoxoxox,
rebecca

karen gerstenberger said...

Thank you for sharing your angels and nurses thoughts with me. Our pets can be angels, too - like your Keenan, Mary, and the "stray" cat that was led to your family, Rebecca. I don't think that was a coincidence at all - she sounds as if she was an angel who was sent. What a blessing.
xoxo